Daniel Ricciardo insisted Thursday that he has not been told that he has Mark Webber’s Red Bull drive for next season – despite the consensus in the paddock being that the young Australian has gotten the nod.
However, the Toro Rosso driver’s body language definitely suggested that he’s expecting some good news, and even by his usual standards, he had a big smile on his face at Spa-Francorchamps.
“I don’t, honestly, follow too much of the media hype – sorry guys,” he said. “I’m on Twitter, so you see a few comments on Twitter. People write to me asking things, so then I become aware of maybe a few things that are going on. As far as I know, they could have happened, they could have not; it could just be one person starting a story.
“I can assure you I haven’t heard anything from the people next door. I’ve still got to keep my feet on the ground, keep pushing and try and get some results and boost my chances.”
Ricciardo said that he’d expect to be able to challenge Sebastian Vettel next year, if he got the job.
“If it was to all go forward in my favor, I would expect that of myself,” Ricciardo said. “It’s not an easy task, and I wouldn’t expect anything like that to be easy. But I’m sure that even though he’s won three straight, it hasn’t been easy for him. It’s hard work, but I’ll prepare and make sure I’m in the best position possible to make it all happen in a successful way.”
However, for the moment he’s keeping a lid on expectations: “Exactly. That’s why I’m not going to start celebrating and popping champagne until something is confirmed, signed, sealed, delivered, all the rest of it. I’ve still got my time here with Toro Rosso for this year, and that’s what I’ve got to focus on. Definitely no celebrations yet.”